Rite Aid adds more drugs to discount generic plan

CHICAGO Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:47pm EST

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CHICAGO Nov 13 (Reuters) - Rite Aid Corp (RAD.N) said on Thursday it added about 100 drugs to its low-cost generic plan, one of several programs that target the millions of Americans who have little or no health insurance.

Major U.S. drugstore chains saw competition heat up when Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) launched its $4 monthly generic prescription plan in September 2006. Other discount chains and supermarkets quickly followed with their own low- or no-cost offerings on generic drugs.

At first, drugstores kept their regular pricing, but as of this week, each of the three major U.S. drugstore chains has its own discount program with different twists.

Walgreen Co (WAG.N) has had a low-cost plan since late 2007 that charges $20 for an individual enrollment, or $35, for a family and offers 90-day generic prescriptions for $12.

Rite Aid's program, which has no annual fee, has been running nationally since the end of September. Shoppers pay $8.99 for a 30-day supply, or $15.99 for a 90-day supply of generic drugs. Some of the genetic categories expanded under Rite Aid's plan on Thursday include pediatric antibiotics, such as augmentin, as well as cough and cold products and dermatological treatments, a spokeswoman said.

CVS Caremark Corp (CVS.N) launched its plan, which has a $10 annual fee, on Nov. 9. CVS charges $9.99 for a 90-day supply of generic drugs.

Under Rite Aid's plan, generic medications not on the list and branded drugs are offered at a 20 percent discount. So, patients with prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs Viagra, Levitra, Cialis and other drugs without generic alternatives can get the drugs at lower prices even if they are uninsured.

Rite Aid said it is also offering certain generic birth- control pills for $19.99 per month, a 20 percent discount on immunizations, such as flu shots and a 10 percent discount on certain Rite Aid branded products such as over-the-counter medications. CVS and Walgreen also offer various discounts. (Reporting by Jessica Wohl; Editing by Andre Grenon)

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